I am a part of an every growing club that gets to deal with a dad void in their life. This reality has led me on a quest since I was 12 to figure out who I am, what I am worth and how not to screw up my own life.
I've been to counseling which was a huge value at a season of my life. I've read as many quality books on manhood, identity, leadership, parenting, marriage & communication. My wife has been patient and honest when my brokenness affects our marriage. I've sought the life wisdom from other men who have earned my respect and I've fought hard to not become who I don't want to be for my family.
During the past 10 years I stumbled upon an author who writes what I feel. Donald Miller has honestly and candidly shared his own story that mimics many others who are a part of the "I don't have a dad" club. His public confessions has ushered an honest openness in people like me to not own the faults of the men who left us, but to step into maturity by not allowing their mistakes to affect us for the rest of our lives.
In his book Chapters For A Fatherless Generation he writes this line
"I was really looking for the kind of validation I should have received from a father, the kind of validation no man is going to give except to his own son." (pg76)As I have read Donald Miller writing I often find myself chuckling because I wonder how he could write what I feel in regard to many circumstances. However this line can sum up in a way a value in my own parenting.
I desperately want to affirm my sons that I am proud of them & they have what it takes to lead. I love watching my sons light up when I look them in the eyes and affirm their worth! I thoroughly enjoy helping them learn a new trade in life and letting them try to do a task themselves. I enjoy hearing their own words on their observation about life as we live it together.
My sons need my validation. They need it to survive & to thrive. But if my validation is only a good job, I believe that message will only go so far in their life. My validation in their life needs to reflect the validation Jesus has for them. I want my validation to reflect the gospel message of risky faith, being a leader & doing something with their life that looks compelling to the world around them. I want my validation to cheerlead my sons towards that life.
A friend and I were talking the other day about parenting. We were talking about our view on raising kids and he made a simple statement, "I want to be a dad, not a dick to my kids". He has his own story of a broken home and everything in him wants to be a dad whom his kids know love them unconditionally. He wants his kids to not be intimidated by him out of fear of being yelled at. He wants the ability for his children to be proud of the man they call dad.
I can't agree with him more. It's an honor to be a father, but it takes a lot of energy, focus, concentration & intentionality. I want to be part of raising kids who know the validation from their dad because it'll never stop.